Saturday, December 26, 2009

Assorted...

First of all, many thanks to you, kind Phoenix. It worked, the image verification thing. No more spammy comments. Yayyy!

And now, some simple notes:

* My husband is taking some time off from work and using it productively to teach Peanut many new things. Such as:

- (On Christmas Day) So Peanut...do you know where Santa lives?
I am very impressed that he is teaching her about festivals - a little cultural background is being constructed.
He continues: He lives in LUDHIANA...Ha ha ha...Santa Singh, right? Ha ha ha ha ...
( Is joined in his cackling laughter by little Peanut, who covers her face, and laughs along, even slaps her knee as if it's the best joke in the world. Little pretender. Encouraging him, for no reason).

- He's taught her all sorts of phrases - including 'Arrey Yaar', which he thinks is very cute ( I don't agree); and some weird dances too ( Hum tum jeet gaye, dushman haar gaye - wherein they both hop around in a circle like a pair of monkeys).

Peanut gets her own back, occasionally -

- She pretends to have food in her mouth long after it's disappeared, and mumbles 'Mu mein hai'. Flummoxing the father, and delaying his attempts to get food into her. On the other hand, when she's eating something he likes, like Makhana and he asks for it, she peers into his face and announces Aapke Mu Mein Hai, and continues to stuff her own face and chomp away.

- She likes to do everything herself, that is, Aapi Aapi. And when Vijay is trying to distract her from watching Ceebeebies by getting her interested in her jigsaw puzzles, and says Hey Peanut, let's do this! Her response is 'Dada, aapi aapi karo', after which she turns away from a sputtering Vijay and goes right back to the telly.

And me? In all this, I am being sidelined as he spends all his time with her filling her ears against me. In the mornings, I am summarily told 'Mama offish jao, jaldi jaldi'.

Good work, Vijay.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I have just two questions...

1. Have you also been getting these spammy comments all over the place on your blog? I am so glad I enabled comment moderation, but they are annoying. Any clue how to stop them?

2. What makes you think the onus is always on ME to amuse YOU whenever you come around here? I am particularly bored and annoyed today and I DEMAND that you tell me a joke or some other amusing anecdote right NOW.

Humph. It's a selfish world.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Spontaneously wonderful

Vijay: Peanut, Mama ka nose kahan hai?
Peanut: YE raha! ( smacking me on the nose)
Vijay: Aur Mama ke eyes kahan hai?
Peanut: YE aaijj! ( poking me in the eye)
Vijay: Aur Mama ka head?
Peanut: YE Head! ( bonking me on top of the head)
Vijay: ...aur Mama ka dimaag kahan hai?
Peanut (taken aback by this unfamiliar term, but recovers quickly) Chidiya le gayi!

Needless to say, there has much mirth and repetition of this little interaction - whenever Vijay finds a new audience.

But I'll get my own back.

Sigh.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Life Jinga La La La La LA!

Seriously, Tata Sky Plus is pretty cool.

My first exposure to this concept was when I visited my cousin Mini in Australia. I found it interesting how she recorded all her shows, so that after she came back from work, she could watch them at leisure. The best part was seeing her fast-forward the ads.

So anyway, Tata Sky's Diwali offer has got me - along with many, many others, apparently.

But it's cool. In various fits and bursts of enthusiasm, I proceed to surf the various listed programs and have - on three separate occasions - set up to record 15 + programs in one sitting.

Of course, you may be wondering whether I've actually watched any of them. Well...

I saw -

a. The first three minutes of Indiana Jones and the Something Something.
b. The first four minutes of Slumdog Millionaire ( I also thoughtfully recorded Slumdog Crorepati for Vijay, but he didn't seem happy about this)
c. The whole of a workout program called Fitness Fusion where these were these slim blonde women doing the salsa. I worked out with it while Vijay watched appreciatively. The TV, of course.
d. The first two minutes of a program called 'Most Amazing Moments'
e. The first five minutes of a fascinating show on the Great Salmon Run.
f. Half of this great movie called Dead Again. Have you seen it?

...but we did manage to watch the whole of Chicago. This last was only because Peanut allows us only to watch musicals.

So I guess haven't got the full benefit yet although I have loads of programs recorded.

Peanut uses it well, though. I record her In the Night Garden, Teletubbies and other nauseatingly sweet and educational programs on her favorite channel. And yes, she watches each and every one of them at some point of time.

Anyway, it's cool. Live Pause. Rewind. Recording. And of course.

Fastforwarding the Ads.

And I work in Marketing!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Let's be Honest now, Shall we?

I am a big fan of Ceebeebies.

It's very educational and well designed - it's just about the only thing I am happy letting Peanut watch on TV nowadays.

It's helped me wean her off from 9XM, her erstwhile favorite, referred to fondly as 'Ball' by her because it's logo has a ball-like thing on it.

So don't get me wrong: I love Ceebeebies.

But every so often, I get this urge to beat those sickly sweet little lumps of lard known as the Teletubbies, into a fine pulp.

I could take all four of them.

I work out.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Imagine if you will...

It is Diwali time.

You are at your In-laws.

Your in-laws are chaste, vegetarian Brahmins.

After seven years of marriage, they pretty much suspect you are not.

Yet, you are respectful enough to throw out (okay, hide) the non-veg stuff in the house when they visit, especially since you know it makes your mother in law sick.

Even eggs.

So, it's a harmonious balance that has been struck.

And now imagine, if you will.

It is dinner time during Diwali.

Your little Peanut is cheerfully perched on a chair right next to yours.

She is eating plain rice, her favorite dish.

Her Grandma asks her to also eat her sabzi - some alu-gobi, your husband's favorite - and therefore, ubiquitous dish.

Your Peanut looks suspiciously at the alu-gobi.

Reaches out and pokes one piece of the alu.

And then brightly and happily proclaims

'Chickunnn!'

You feel yourself sliding to the floor under the table while your husband chuckles through a mouthful of sabzi and roti, and your in-laws graciously pretend not to hear.

The joy. The infinite joy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The PTA Meeting

Last week, before Diwali, Vijay and I went to meet Peanut's teachers at her playschool, for our very first PTA Meeting.

First of all, of course, we got ready at the last possible minute and I was getting extremely agitated. Leaving a bewildered Peanut behind, we rushed off and landed up just in the nick of time. We waited around, smiling blandly at the other parents and were soon called in to meet her teachers - Neena and Niti.

Neena did most of the talking, and I found myself warming up to her even more than before - she spoke in a very affectionate way about Peanut and told us about the developments she and Niti had observed in the past few weeks.

This, therefore, is the public image of Peanut:

* She is a very sweet, tender, gentle and well-disciplined child
(Really? I think of the temper tantrums at home)

* She is very assiduous about her work and always puts back her things when asked to do so.
( Her favorite game at home is throwing my books of the shelves, stepping all over them gingerly and pretending to be deaf when I ask her to help me pick them up)

* She does not really communicate verbally, but through gestures it is clear she absorbs everything.
( When Vijay and I are at home, Peanut is the only one who talks. If we try, she resorts to varying levels of the word 'Aaaaa' in order to get us to pay attention to her, finally resulting in screaming if we continue to try and have a conversation).

* She loves music and dance, her favorite song is Bum Bum Bhole.
( This is undisputable - except I think her favorite song is 'Soni De Nakhre' but they probably don't expose a lot of that kind of music to vulnerable toddlers in school)

*She shares an unspoken bond with two kids called Karan and Khushi, and they often are observed doing their activities together and sharing things.
( I am delighted at this. Vijay spends the next few days in deep suspicion, asking Peanut at sudden intervals in an ingratiating manner 'Beta, Karan kaun hai?)

* She is the darling of the class ( wonder if they say that to all parents...nah!) - and is so adorable that all the kids often jump all over her, especially during dance sessions. The teachers are very fond of her and protect her from the rowdier boys ( I could feel Vijay bristling beside me) - and the teachers' special name for her is Tinkerbell.
(This I did not know. And when I went home later and called her Tinkerbell, she got a very special kind of shy smile - when I asked her who calls her that, she said 'Neenaanty'. )

* I was very touched by the description of how they suddenly one day observed her saying her rhymes along with the other kids - Neena says she saw her and held her breath, and gripped Niti's arm and pointed and they both stared in silent delight at her mouthing all the words correctly. ( This kind of excitement really amazed me - I always thought I was the only one who took a real interest in Peanut's little achievements but their delight seemed genuine. I like these people. And yes, Peanut says all sorts of rhymes at home and also sings Andy Pandy and the Teletubbies and the Boogie Beebies theme songs with me)

Anyway, that's about that. I leave you with a couple of older pictures from a school function. In the first one, she's the one in the audience who can't sit still. In the second, she's on stage doing 'Row Row...'


Friday, October 9, 2009

How grown up are WE?

Me: Honey, don't forget - tomorrow is our Parent-Teacher Meeting with Peanut's teacher - at 9.50 a.m.
Vijay: Do we have to take Peanut along?
Me: No, I checked with them at school - she can stay at home.
Vijay: Okay.

(Thoughtful Silence)

Vijay: Honey - it's our first Parent Teacher Meeting? Already?
Me: (Struck by this thought) Yes

(Wondering Silence)

Me: Does this mean we're growing up?
Vijay: I think so.

(Apprehensive silence)

Me: And old?
Vijay (almost immediately) Yes

(Brooding silence).

And for once, there was no mention of 'How fast our little girl is growing up'. It's all about us this time.

Sigh.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Many events. Sort of a Bulletin.

Much as I hate this sort of post, it really can't be helped. And if there's one thing that's making my life easier these days, it's taking things less seriously. And that therefore goes for this blog. Therefore, random thoughts and events, in no particular order of importance:

* Vani's had a baby boy, over a month back and is now in Delhi. Yayyy!
* My other best friend, Manav, has also had a baby boy. 'tis really the season.
* I've realized that I haven't made any new friends in over two years now. I think the age is now past. But if you want to be my friend, mail me at yonearthnot at gmail dot com and I promise you, I will consider it.
* Peanut's two cousins, Mahima (age 8) and Akriti (Age 3) have moved back to India from England. It's really great to see her in their company. Makes me want to have another kid just so she doesn't have to play alone. But a readymade one, and preferably older, would be better.
* I have been gymming and am now even lower than the pre-pregnancy weight. It's a good feeling and I'm not going to swell up again anytime soon, I can promise you that.
* The office gym is a cool concept. Also ensures I finish work by 6.30 or 7 p.m. on the days that I decide to work out. My office facilities in general are pretty cool.
* Work has recently stopped being as much fun as it used to be. And it's more to do with people than the work itself. And much like Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that.
* Peanut is very, very, very clingy. Seriously. As I type, she has found her way into my lap and is insisting I use the computer to show her videos instead of writing on my blog. I tell you, I'm just not used to having someone around who's more selfish than me.
* Peanut is also very, very, very cute. She's started to speak now - and Vijay is unfortunately teaching her things like ├Ło; Chill, Mom; and Whateva. What a great dad.
* Vijay has discovered today that he's going to a conference in Holland in November, and is trying to convince me to go along. I'm thinking - zero degrees temperature; stuck in a hotel room for three days while he's at the conference; with Peanut to amuse throughout the day. I'm thinking - not. But go, hubby - make the most of it!
* I'm reading many, many books at the same time and of course, it's taking ages to finish a single one. However, I've just started reading "I'm ok, you're ok'' and I'm totally fascinated by it. The whole concept of Parent, Adult, Child; the Games People Play; and so on. That's one book I plan to finish this weekend.
* I am really trying to increase my patience levels and control my temper. I really think I'm getting a lot better at it now. Ha ha ha ha ha. Look, the books all say to use humour. The best advice continues to be ''Count to ten''. Never heard anything more cliched and inane in my entire life. Must try it.
* My grandfather's birthday is coming up again - he's going to turn 94. He was over today at my Mum's, with the rest of the family, and it's really amazing to see him. Still in great shape, peaceful and happy. You give him a shirt and he thanks you, but adds that he has so many shirts. Have never met anyone with such few wants and needs. Awesome to think that some of those genes may have been passed on to me. Just wondering when they are going to show up. Maybe when I'm in my nineties.
* I haven't mentioned how sad I've been about Michael Jackson's passing. I still remember he was the first TV personality I really noticed and how much dissonance I felt when my father referred to him as a 'He'. Yes, you'd think that the fact that he was singing 'Man in the Mirror' at the Grammy Awards would have clued me in, but let's face it - I was 9 years old and obviously not a very bright one.
* My two good friends back in Bombay, who were management trainees along with me at my first company, are getting married. And no, it's not to each other - they are both men, or close enough anyway. So Fatso and Tools - congratulations to you. Seriously. It's great news.
* My other friend Amit, who has got married only a few months back, is actually pregnant already - that is, his wife is and they were both a bit embarassed by the fact that they got pregnant just a month after the wedding. I personally think there's something shady about the whole thing, and now it's all making sense - the last minute invitations, the sudden date-setting. Ha, ha. I'm only kidddding, guys. Congratulations! You guys are so not ready. I'll be right with you - cheering you on, giving you good advice and moral support and laughing all the way.
* I had this person who I considered my childhood enemy and we really hated each other in school, but for some strange reason, I got in touch with her over Facebook recently, and found that she actually seems like a pretty nice person and I actually warmed to her. I guess that's all part of the growing up process. My Adult is now less contaminated with my Child, as Thomas A harris, M.D would say. Really, you should read this book.

And now I'm tired. And yet satisfied. I've probably bored you to death with news of people who you couldn't possibly know or care about. But I love all these people and things. And it feels good to write about them.

And how have you been? Feel free to bore me to death in comments. Come on, let loose. Tell me who's still around on this ghissa-peeta, neglected old blog. And tell me what's new in your life, what books you're reading, any good recipes, and so on. I still can't cook, though. Scratch the recipe bit.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Guest Post By My Sister

And she tells it so much better...

Who's the Boss?

Children must be disciplined from an early age. This implies hardening your heart against their wide eyed, chubby-cheeked faces and being firm. Yes. Discipline is the key.

You may agree. But you haven't met Peanut have you?

Y & Vijay (parents of an active two year old Peanut) decided to take their semi-annual trip - to the movies - and left Peanut under the collectively watchful eye of Mum, myself, A and the K. If we count A, then the adult to child ratio stood at 4:1. Easy babysitting you say? Again, you haven't met Peanut have you?

Now Peanut is a no-nonsense type of child who has a firm idea of what she wants, and as for any contrary opinions issued from the bumbling adults she is forced to deal with, she dismisses as bunkum. All this is made very easy for her, given the fact that she is most adorable two year old you've ever laid eyes on. One quiver of that lower lip will have you waving the white flag in no time.

A had come over armed with Prince of Persia - the Sands of Time. I am introducing A to the joys of the PoP trilogy which has always been and always will be my only interest in the world of gaming. Anyway, we started playing while Peanut was with my Mum. Engrossed with a particularly tough fight sequence, we scarcely noticed the K bringing Peanut into the room with a coloring book and a set of sketchpens.

Under A's otherwise skillful maneuvering, the Prince kept dying at the hands of the big, bad villains so I took over the fighting. At this point, Peanut was sitting quietly on a stool and watching our game quite interestedly. It took all my powers of concentration to finish off the baddies so I ignored the apparent struggle that was taking place to my left. I vaguely heard cries of 'Peanut, no!!' from A, followed by squeals of protest and dismissive 'Aaahhhs' from Peanut.

The noise had died down by the time I was finished. When I looked up from the screen, I saw Peanut sitting innocently on the stool looking at me benignly. I smiled because there was a green sketchpen mark on her nose. My smile faded as I noted that Peanut, A and my cream colored sofa bed were all covered in a red, green and yellow marks. "No, no, no!!" I wailed. "Why did you let her do this?"

A defended himself by saying that Peanut cried when he tried to take the sketchpens from her. I can really see what kind of parent he'll make. The kind of parent who smiles indulgently at the little tykes breaking vases and coloring the walls.

While I had hysterics, Peanut suddenly noticed the colored sofa and gasped as if shocked by this act of vandalism. "Peanut!" I said accusingly. "Yeh kisne kiya?" In response she pointed to A and said "Unkallll!!!" This would have actually been quite convincing had there not been witnesses.

Luckily, we managed to get the stains out with rigorous scrubbing. Peanut was highly amused by it all and tried to send jet like sprays of water in our faces by blocking the nozzle of the tap as we tried to wash her hands.

Yes, Peanut is a naughty one. Unknowingly, my cousin Aparna tried to use her as a model of good behavior for her own two little girls the next evening at dinner. This never augurs well.

"Look, Akriti," she said to her 3 year old. "See how baby Peanut drinks from a glass without spilling anything." At this point, of course, Peanut spilled apple juice over herself and the chair. "Look Akriti," said Aparna, undaunted. "See how baby Peanut is eating ice cream with a spoon and holding it just like a grown up." At this juncture, Peanut decided that a more expedient way to eat ice cream was to lick it off the plate and plied her little pink tongue to the amusement of her older cousins.

On the way home, I sat calmly in the front seat while Y struggled with her squirming baby in the back. She said I must be thinking "I'm never having kids."

You may agree, but then you've never met Peanut have you?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Peanut the Little Disaster

* Three weeks ago, Peanut decorates the walls of our (rented) home - with artistic scribblings using a ballpoint pen. Vijay thinks it is very cute. I think otherwise. The K , who was apparently supervising with a beatific smile while we were at work, says 'Kya karoon...baby rone lagta...bahut mushkil'.

* Two weeks ago, Peanut draws with a blue crayon on our music system, and just for added fun, also scribbles on the floor in rangoli style. After a lot of scrubbing it comes off. The K says 'Kya karoon...bahut mushkil'.

* Last week, I find on our drawing room wall, a clear attempt at her artistic endeavours, this time with a black crayon. The K pretends not to have seen it. ' Hoodibaba! Yeh to maine dekha hi nahin'

* At my mom's place last week, Peanut is being babysat by my sister and her friend, apart from the ubiquitous and ever-reliable K. At one point, the ever-reliable K hands her a bunch of sketchpens and deposits her in the room where my sister and friend are busy playing Prince of Persia. Peanut uses a bright green sketchpen to draw on my mother's precious sofa ( which happens to be a delicate shade of pale cream, joy of all joys!). My sister and friend look up at one point to see Peanut innocently looking at them with a green mark on her little nose. To their horror, they uncover the damage. The rest of the evening is spent with a couple of rags, soapy water and lots of fervent cursing and 'Mom's going to kill us'.

The Joy, the inimitable Joy of a Toddler.

( Incidentally, I was enjoying some piping hot Chicken soup last night when Peanut decided it was time for me to breastfeed her. She came charging at me, banged her head into the soup bowl, and the piping hot soup fell all over my front - and it was searingly, blindingly hot for a couple of seconds after which I pretty much lost all sensation. Vijay spent the next few minutes insisting looking for Burnol, finally settling for rubbing Lactocalamine on me. I still have the unnatural tan under my shirt. It's great, really)

I love it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My poor neglected little blog

( I don't have the faintest clue why this entire post seems to be a hyperlink. I'm weird. And technologically challenged. Please bear with me)

Dear Blog,

I am so sorry that I haven't been around to update you. I know you must be feeling a lot less loved than some of the other blogs out there, but let me tell you - you're always in my heart. I often think of a brilliant story but something or the other comes up to distract me and I'm not able to put it down, and then I lose it. I know it sounds like yet another excuse, but that's really how it is.

You'll be happy to know that Peanut seems to be settling into playschool. I don't think there could be a cuter sight than a chubby-cheeked-but-otherwise-tall-and-bony two year old impatiently waiting by the door with a pink schoolbag on her scrawny shoulders. If I did pictures anymore, I would show you, but alas - I don't really post as many pictures as I used to a year ago.

Oooh -but wait. I know how I can make it up to you. I'm going to upload some random pictures now, including of our trip from the U.S - and I promise I'll tell you all about it in the next post. Or maybe the one after that. But I will, I will. It was a good trip and there's a lot to tell.

For now - look at these few photos. And know that I love you even though I don't say it often enough anymore.

Goodbye,

Love




This was the view from the hotel we stayed in, in Paradise city. Beautiful, eh? I think it's Lake Superior, but I could be wrong. Did I mention earlier it's more like an ocean than any lake I've ever seen?
Peanut leaning over to look at the 'Paani' - already enjoys giving me heart attacks. I deal with it by taking a picture before screeching at her to back away.
Peanut all bundled up, enjoying a walk around Mackinac city, Michigan. Beautiful place really. Her cap says 'I love Daddy'. No prizes for guessing who bought her that one.
I kind of like this picture. The whole family - Ananya, Peanut, Vijay, Adi-on-top-of-Ajay and Garima. If you look carefully, you'll see me too - I'm the shadowy picture-taker. Not bad, eh?


Finally, Peanut on her first day at Playschool. Oh she looks okay in the picture but she bawled something awful when I left. My baby's going to school already ( theatrical sob!) !

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Am Annoyed

...and I can't quite say by what, or rather whom. But I had to say that I'm annoyed.

And YOU. I know you're reading this. And I know that you know it's you I'm talking to. And I just wanted to tell you that you suck.

Whew.

However, the point is - the simpler I keep my life, the happier I am. And I've decided that mediocrity is not a bad thing to aim for. For the first time in my life.

On a related note, please do check out the site that I was recently introduced to. It's quite funny.

Mylifeisaverage.com

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Peanut Turns Two

Yes, she did, just a couple of days back. I can't quite believe that it's been two years since I had her. It's quite amazing, I think. Wow.

I realize that this isn't the most articulate post ever, but I think I'm still a bit zapped by how time flies.

Oh, also, we had a birthday party for her this Saturday. To my horror, I realized that it was time for kiddy birthday parties, with return gifts, party games, prizes, party hats, those annoying little noisemakers, etc. It all went off rather well, thanks largely to the organizing skills of my mother, sister and sister's friend A.

A, who is rather fond of Peanut (and vice versa), had got her this 2 kg Fairy Princess Birthday cake which was not just pretty but also delicious. When the other kids tried to swipe a bit of it before Peanut had a chance to cut it, A almost killed them. And when, later, they all had bits and pieces from the bottom part of the cake and it caved in on itself, it was A who was most upset - indeed, he went rushing for it frantically and tried to hold it back up with his own two hands, but unfortunately, it was a lost cause.

My sister and A were to bring the decorations, but they got rather late in the process. To make up for lost time, they ended up blowing up most of the balloons in the car on the way. I'm sure that was a fun ride for them. And the driver.

Also, Peanut was attacked just as her party was beginning. I had invited a neighbour, whose two daughters are very fond of her - they are around 7 and 4 years old.The 4 year old decided to express her love and affection by hugging Peanut so hard that she knocked her right off her feet and they both landed up in a heap on the floor - I saw the horror on Peanut's face as she realized that she was suddenly horizontal and had a larger child on top of her- my poor child started crying and was quite inconsolable and in a bad mood for the rest of the party.

The other kids all had fun, though, apparently - they certainly ran about making enough noise for it. The parents also beamed beatifically at each other. The only people who looked out of place were the four non-parent friends of mine who had landed up - but then I'm sure they were fine - because they had each other, as well as the fact that they are not yet parents, to be thankful for.

We had booked a hall in the club at the place we stay and it was all rather convenient. Oh, who am I kidding? Birthday parties are only fun when you're a kid - not the Mom. Even when you have the support of a husband, a mother, a sister and an A.

A highly depressing realization. But I'm still glad we did it because birthdays are meant to be celebrated, dammit. Also, largely I'm glad for the pictures - so that many years later when the memory fades, we can fool ourselves into nostalgically reminiscing about the good old days - I can see it now. Doddering Vijay and Y twenty years later, staring at photos out of aging eyes, and telling each other -

'Remember when Peanut turned two? That was a fun party'.

Sigh.

P.S - incidentally, her actual birthday was later and we celebrated it just at home with the family and it was very, very nice. Plus, as a consequence of this, we had multiple cakes, which is always good.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Peanut & PlaySchool

Summary of Day 1, as per conversation with Peanut.

Y: Peanut, did you go to school today?
Peanut: Haan
Y: Were there babies there?
Peanut: Haan
Y: Did you play with them?
Peanut: Haan
Y: Was there Aunty?
Peanut: Haan
Y: Did she give you a chocolate?
Peanut: Haan
Y: Was she nice?
Peanut: Haan
Y: Did you have fun in school?
Peanut: Haan
Y: Do you like it?
Peanut: Haan
Y: Shall we go back there again?
Peanut: Naii. ( Vehement head shake)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

You Always Hurt the Ones You Love

Especially if you're an idiotic bungler like me.

Here go a series of apologies of forgotten birthdays and other special occasions over the last month. Maybe I should make THIS a regular feature. That way, I may still have some friends left. Family members, of course, are stuck with me.

* My brother Abhi - belated Happy Birthday. Heh, heh.
* My brother Abhi and my sis-in-law, Vandu - belated Happy Anniversary. Heh, heh. How many years now? Time flies, doesn't it? How is beautiful little Nikki?
* My friend Manav - Hi there, Manav. Belated Happy Birthday. You know you're my best friend, right?
* My friend Amit K - Hey there. 'Sup? Belated Happy Birthday. You know you're my best friend, right?
* My sister, G - Belated Happy Birthday. You're an amazing person. Sorry I didn't call. But I love you. Really.

I have this whole set of excuses for all of the above, but none of them are worth it.

Apologies all around.

It's truly a wonder any of you still love me :-(

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Holiday Highlights Thus Far

So this is what is up - it's been over a week since we came here to Ann Arbor, Michigan and here's a brief synopsis. 

* Can't believe it's already time to leave tomorrow - we head out by a 3 p.m. flight to New York, and will be returning to Delhi next week. This has to be the longest holiday that Vijay and I have taken together since we got married - in fact, for each of us, the longest break from work ever. Wow. Should do it more often. 

* Most of our time here has been spent pottering about the little town - it's very, very pretty and green, and generally very friendly - been to the malls; downtown; couple of restaurants; the University of Michigan; and so on - yesterday we went to the Arboretum, a large and beautiful park with many walking trails and its own river to boot. The baby was asleep and Vijay and I spent the afternoon just lying around in the sun and then getting lost somewhere while the brother-in-law tried valiantly to bring the car around to the desolate exit we finally found ourselves at. 

* We had a mini-break with Vijay's brother's family - took a van to a lovely place called Mackinac island - and - I kid you not, Paradise. It really was, like its name suggests, something close to Paradise. The place we stayed at in Paradise was right on the bank of Lake Superior, which I am convinced is really an Ocean in Disguise - in the morning, we played on the shore - and the freezing cold water did not deter us, least of all, little Peanut, who refused to get out until we dragged her out kicking and screaming. Mackinac island itself was great, because it's an island that has no cars at all - took a horse drawn carriage tour of the place, and it's quaint, beautiful and hopelessly and utterly charming, even despite being an out-and-out tourist destination. 

* I have discovered the best part about this country - it has to be the Peanut Butter. I am obsessed with trying everything that has Peanut Butter flavour , including Ice Cream and Fudge. While I am trying to keep up with my exercise, I'm afraid it's a losing battle against the temptations of the Peanut Butter concoctions, which, for your information, is very, very tasty. 

*Surprisingly, the other pleasure on this holiday has been just generally pottering about the kitchen - something I haven't done in ...well, ever. I have discovered that I can actually put together fairly decent meals. Okay, let's not push it. But I do make a mean aloo-parantha, and one time I made this really tasty alu-matar-pyaaz thing in a unique, dry style - and gave it my own twist by adding ketchup on it, as well as cheese. Okay fine, so this is a recipe that my friend Vani showed me last year, but the cheese sprinkles on top were MY idea. I personally thought it was quite brilliant. Apart from this, I am also queen of Scrambled Eggs, but there, alas is where my culinary skills end. 

*The house that the family stays in is beautiful, complete with sunny back porch and garden and everything. It's all automated and they even have a breadmaker that they use to goondo the atta in, if you know what I mean. There are switches for everything all around, but I don't use most of them because I get confused and frankly, I am wary of booby traps. That's me, the little Ghati, Rustic, Indian Bumpkin. 

*Peanut has been having a nice time with her Didi and the 'Baby'. She's also been a barrel of laughs herself, doing things like discovering and trying to run away from her own shadow, which I must rather cruelly add, was one of the funniest things I have ever seen. The other funny thing happened yesterday, when we were buying Ice Cream ( and yes, I selected Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie). My niece Ananya and her Dad, Ajay ( Vijay's brother) were at the counter and Peanut and I were behind them. Ananya couldn't decide and kept pointing to different flavours on display, saying 'Papa, I'll have the Mint Choco Chip' and then 'No, Papa, I want the Birthday Cake Remix' and so on'. Finally, Peanut could stand it no longer and unexpectedly shouted at Ajay in her piercing baby tone ' PAPA!' and pointed to a picture of a Butterscotch Ice Cream Cone. 

* Lastly, I wanted to tell you that the concept of a single scoop of ice cream the way we know it in India does not exist here. I asked for a single scoop each time, and got something resembling the leaning tower of Pisa. I shudder to think what would have happened if I had actually gone for the Triple, as Ajay kept trying to push me for. 

In short, it's been rather nice, and we still have a week to go. And yes, the Americans have actually been very, very nice and friendly, and the best part is that so many people have a sense of humour even while interacting with strangers - so I guess it was only the officials at the airport who were a bit nasty. 

But then again, let's see, because we've been in good ol' little Ann Arbor and around it, all this while - and after all, it's New York from tomorrow. 

Whopeee!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Partying with the Sister-in-Law

...didn't quite turn out according to plan, of course. 

Our initial thought was that we would ditch the husbands and kids and go out on the town. But then, they wanted to go play golf, so we thought we'd be shrewd about it - we offered to take 7 year old Ananya and 2 year old Peanut out, while they would have to manage 1 year old Adi, who's the toughest of the lot. 

However, it turned out that Adi slept peacefully the entire time while Vijay and brother played golf merrily for 2 hours. 

Our two hours? We thought we'd pick up some books and have a coffee at Barnes & Noble. But the second I entered, my heart sank and Peanut's leapt with joy. There they were - two majestic escalators leading up and down between the ground and first floor. All other plans were abandoned as Peanut screamed to ride them up and down with me. So that's exactly what we did for 1.5 hours, while my sister in law watched with helpless amusement. 

Why did they invent escalators anyway? They're just for lazy people and crazy 2 year olds. 

The good news is that Peanut had a good time. 

But we followed it up with a nice evening at a Thai restaurant. I enjoyed my shrimp salad while Vijay kept alternating between looking around wistfully for the Daal-roti and fooling around by making his brother repeat the name of the dish we were having, 'Phad-ki-what?' and remarking embarassingly loudly to Peanut 'Yeh Maggi bahut bekaar hai na, beta?'. Thankfully no one understood him. 

So much for the party plan. We are determinedly trying to go out again today. Let's see if we manage.

Conversations with Ananya

My seven year old niece over here is a bundle of laughs. 

Here's a few samples: 

20 questions: 

I explained the concept of the game 20 questions to her and she was quite fascinated. We tried our hand at it, and she had a little trouble figuring out the logic in the beginning. Certain questions would follow certain others, such as -

A: Is it a boy?
Y: No! 
A: So is it a girl?
Y: Err...yeah...

Or

A: Is it a boy?
Y: No!
A: Does he have a mustache?
Y: Err...no...

Or

A: Is it a really famous movie star?
Y: Yes!!
A: Is he related to us?
Y: Err...no...

Or

A: Is he above 20 years old?
Y: Yes!
A: But is he above 10 years old?
Y: Err...Yes?!

On the other hand, there were also the usual signs of a 7 year old's impatience, like: 

A: Is it a boy?
Y: Yes!
A: Is he Indian?
Y: Yes!
A: Is he in movies?
Y: Yes!
A: Is he above 30?
Y: Yes!
A: WHO is this person?
Y: ....You have to guess...

And the final straw, when she just can't wait for the answer

A: Is it Madonna?
Y: No! That's thirteen questions. You have seven more tries. 
A: Is it Madonna?
Y: NO
A: Is it Madonna?
Y: FIFTEEN.
A: Madonna?
Y: SIXTEEN. STOP IT. 
A: So is it Madonna?

You get the picture, right?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Quick Update

So I had a few minutes and thought I'd just jot down some random thoughts: 

* Ann Arbor is such a pretty little place. There's a summer festival going on, went to it and there was a lively band. This kind of tradition, I love. 

*I say summer festival, but frankly, it's nothing like summer over here - it's quite cold, as a matter of fact, but in a great 'Bangalore chilly' kind of way - requires just a light jacket in order to feel comfortable. It's raining today, but not the depressing kind of rain. All in all, a perfect respite from the heat of Delhi summer!

*Some people have turned out quite nice, the opposite of the initial experience with the Americans - particularly the waiters, as a matter of fact. 

*It's incredibly nice being with the family - my brother-in-law, sis-in-law, and their two kids. The younger one, turning 1 in July, makes Peanut look like a complete angel - he's so full of energy, he's always in trouble, crawling here, there and everywhere. I described him to my brother-in-law today as a 'series of heart attacks'. 

* They have an amazingly beautiful house - it's large, yet cosy and comfortable, convenient and clean, and in a very nice, pleasant neighbourhood. 

*Tonight, my sis-in-law and I hope to sneak out and go somewhere leaving the men behind to babysit the kids. Unlike yesterday, when all six of us went out to a pub and there was havoc all over the place, especially because Peanut and little Adi were cranky, sleepy and generally annoyed with life. 

Ok got to go now! Everybody has descended upon me in the computer room...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

From the Other Side of the Globe

Man, Chicago is FAR.

Yes, I know. I don't quite know how I got here either. All I know is that Vijay was obsessing about this holiday for the last few months. Somewhere in between my busy schedule, he managed to get me to go ahead for a Visa interview, which by itself is another story. Anyhow, Friday evening, I was in office till 5 p.m. He came and picked me up and took me shopping for three hours. At 8 p.m, I asked him what time we were supposed to be leaving for the airport and he said 9.30 p.m. would be good. I flipped out because we hadn't even begun to pack. It's been a crazy blur but somehow we have made it to the other side of the world, relatively without incident, except for the fact that I seem to have not brought any warm clothes and it's a teeny bit chilly and Peanut's head is feeling a little warm.

We're going to go off to Ann Arbor, Michigan in a couple of hours. I'm still feeling a little disoriented but not so disoriented that I haven't noticed that some Americans can be pretty darn rude for no reason - airhostesses, and other airport officials. I am left wondering whether it is the consciousness that we are not 'in home country' that makes us a bit more aware of this, or whether it really is a not so subtle form of discrimination. What's with the resentment people? It's our planet, even if it's not our country. Sheesh.

Then again, I know for a fact Vijay and me used to also get rudeness from the people like security guards and so on in good old Bengaluru, one of our favorite cities ever. So I guess, it's just about the 'outsiders' phenomenon. Either way, makes me glad I'm just here for a couple of weeks and hats off, by the way, for those of you, including members of my family, who've made America their home despite it all.

Well, that's a lot of judgement based on 3 experiences in a span of a mere few hours. Should be an interesting trip. Let's see what this country is all about. I wonder if I'll get to see Central Perk with Ross, Rachel and the rest of the gang hanging around.

Also, I've noticed there are a lot of tall buildings here. Very tall. I write from the 17th floor of one myself, staying at a friend's place till it's time to drag ourselves out of bed to catch the train.

Am going to try and post now and then - been rather a lot happening of late, just haven't had the time to pin it all down anywhere.

So take care of yourselves and be around. By the way, skipped over to any new continents lately?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sunday Morning Drama

My baby and I are in the shallow end of the pool. It's a windy day, and because it rained so hard yesterday, the pool has more mud and leaves in it than usual.

I am just about making up my mind to get out when the Lifeguard and a Security guard come rushing up towards the pool, shouting terse instructions to us to get out of the pool.

I grab Peanut and the two of us are out in a flash - my heart is beating fast because I've already spotted the cause of alarm - it's a snake that's entered the pool and is gliding along with some speed to the other side.

It's some distance away from us and we're out already so I feel relieved - until I realize that my husband is still in the pool. I scan the pool with worried eyes for him and am shocked to realize that he's still in it - oblivious floating on his back, with occasional lazy strokes with his long arms propelling him backwards - right towards the snake.

I am shouting his name, over and over again - the lifeguard and security guard are nearer him and they are also shouting at him. He doesn't hear any of us, he's in his own world, just floating, enjoying the Sunday morning backstroke. I think he briefly spots the lifeguard waving frantically at him, but appears to mistake it for a friendly greeting, because he just carries on regardless.

He is a mere five feet away from the snake and I am beginning to really panic -I continue to shout, while resolving to myself in a fairly detached manner that if the snake doesn't bite him to death today, I will.

Luckily, the snake is swimming much faster than him and passes him by, emerging on the other side of the pool - turns out to be this really, really huge lizard-iguana-type thing - the lifeguard runs towards it with a stick and tries to beat it - although I'm not sure what that would have achieved - but misses, and it scampers off into the nearby plants and disappears.

At this point, Vijay reaches the shallow end of the pool and sees me glowering at him, clutching a bemused Peanut at the edge of the pool. He casually asks 'Kya hua?' while the security guard, Peanut and I all look at him with a fair amount of disbelief.

That's my man.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Odd Couple...

( On route from Jaipur to Delhi)

She: We won't stop at MidWay...we'll go straight...Baby is sleeping
He: Oh, no - let's stop there...
She: Why? You aren't hungry - we ate before we left...
He: No, I think we can buy you something nice from there...
She: A-ha! I get it. You want to stop for a smoke.
He: Err....no, no...something nice for you...
She: Don't lie. What is this smoking thing with you? You're just addicted.
He: Honey! Have you heard the song 'Addicted to love'?
She: Yes...(shaking herself) Don't try and change the subject.
He: No, honey...the subject is the same...addiction...the topic has changed...to love ( Wrapping his arm around her, turning on all reserves of charm ) You like love, right?
She: ( Trying not to laugh at his cheesiness, but unable to stay mad)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Both of them are rushing home on a Sunday night from Delhi to Gurgaon. It's become late in the evening. She wanted to go for a swim, he wanted to go to the gym. But both swimming and gymming facilities in their complex shut down at 9 p.m. - and they arrive at 8.45 p.m. They decide to try and swim for just a few minutes. Something is better than nothing, and all that.

Immediately abandoning baby who is happy to watch songs on TV for 15 minutes ( or longer, if upto her), they change into their swimming costumes, and bolt out the door to the swimming pool. He is grumbling about not being able to work out, she is giggling at the thought of the two of them running around like kids in a respectable colony.

When they get to the pool, there are only 10 minutes left to 9. They rush to their respective changing rooms. She can't get the door to hers open, and starts banging and calling out indignantly to the ladies inside. How inconsiderate of them to lock it when she has only a few minutes of swimming time left. Just as she heaves her shoulder against the door one final time, a bemused lady swimmer opens the door from inside - causing her to stumble inside the room in fairly typical clumsy manner - and informs her 'It was open all the time'.

He goes one better. He has no trouble with the changing room and is out the door in a flash. (And funny, I should use the term 'flash').

Because he majestically dives into the deep end of the pool, his long frame glinting in the moonlight. He swims like a fish, and is ready to make the most of the next few minutes.

Of course, the effect would possibly have been more majestic had he remembered to actually tie the nada of his swimming costume - and consequently, not parted ways with it due to the impact of the water. He floundered around in embarassment and retrieved it quickly, glad of the fact that it was so dark - and that there were so few people around.

Ah, life with you. Ever amusing.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

3 Mistakes of MY Life

...reading ( or attempting to read) all 3 of his books.

Seriously. Know what I mean, right?

Or are you a fan?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lazing Around...

Sometimes staying home for two days on the weekend is the best thing to do. Because you get to -

a. Go swimming with your little family. First, I go and get in a few laps so that I feel like I've actually exercised. Then Vijay comes in, carrying little Peanut in her cute blue-and-pink suit. She sees me from a distance, spotting me by my distinct orange and black suit and starts crying 'Mama, Mama'. I swim over to the shallow end and Vijay dunks her into the water. I catch her and she spends the next twenty minutes happily splashing about in my lap. She is less suspicious than before of her floaty toys and it's good fun. I love living in a place that has nice pool - it's kept clean, not overly used, not overly deep, and the perfect exercise for a warm summer day.

b. Sort out your papers. Okay, I didn't actually sort out anything but I did cursorily glance through them to make sure that we still have our passports and other important things. And I did place them all in one neat pile in the corner of the room so that when I get another two-day weekend, I can actually dive into them and actually sort them out.

c. Have a healthy breakfast - just some Quaker Oats and Cornflakes. Nothing heavy. It feels so great to start out the day on a light note. However, the lunch of Chhola Bhatura that is now waiting for me might kind of ruin the effect of this one.

d. Spending more time in the park in the morning with your daughter - the two of us were just hanging out, and it was early enough not to be hot. Then little Victor, just a couple of weeks older than Peanut landed up and I was pleasantly surprised to see that Peanut actually played with him. They were very cute together, following each other around and copying each other. I watched from a distance, marvelling at this change in my daughter's personality. They were having fun, and then Vijay emerged from the gym and Peanut spotted him and went running straight to him. The two of them played together, crawling on the grass, and then Vijay pretending to use Peanut as Weights to round off his gym session. I spotted Victor wistfully peering from around a corner - he was afraid of Vijay but wanted to play with Peanut! I pointed this out to Vijay who was very happy, because the reason he's started gymming is to build up an impressive body to scare away Peanut's future boyfriends. I pointed out that Victor isn't even two yet but that didn't lessen Vijay's triumph at having scared him. 'I can take him', he declared. Even when we went home, little Victor followed us almost all the way, hoping that we would release Peanut to play with him. He refused to listen to the entreaties of his tailing maid, only turning away when Peanut finally got fed up of seeing him behind us and wagged her finger at him 'Baby! No!''. It was heartbreakingly cute.

e. A quiet glass of wine on Saturday night. No going out anywhere. It's really nice not going out anywhere! Really!

f. Watching FRIENDS. For the 18th time. It's on right now! And while I know all the dialogues by heart, I still enjoy watching the 4 episode back-to-backs - am going to sit on the sofa with Vijay and eat Chhola Bhatura and do just that right now.

And how was YOUR weekend?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Tag

So, Parul and Inexplicably both tagged me to write about the 5 things that I love about being a Mom. I'm going to keep this one short, and I won't be tagging anyone else about it, if that's okay with you guys, mostly because I'm usually so late on these things that all the other mommy bloggers I know have already done the tag about six posts ago :-).

But here goes, since you asked. The five big reasons why I love being a mom, in no particular order:

1. Having the cutest, most lovable person in the world to cuddle up with at the end of the day, no matter what.

2. Having someone around who can always lift my modd, and make me laugh by simply making a funny face, or nonchalantly farting at all the right moments, dozens of other things.

3. Rediscovering the best things in the world again - including the little ladybird in the grass, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, ice-cream, and many other things.

4. Having my own personal entertainer. Being her own personal entertainer. It's all very entertaining. Except when it's not, which is usually when she decides 'It's 4 a.m. Time to wake up and have some fun with Mama!'.

5. The knowledge that you can really change for the better. I've been a blissfully ignorant child, a clueless moody teenager, an overly competitive performance-oriented career woman - and I think I'm far more balanced overall, and certainly quite happy. Part of it is the effect of the pregnancy and postpartum hormones wearing off ; but part is a very conscious effort to be the kind of mom that Peanut could be proud of. Well, right now she would still be proud of me even if my chosen profession was that of Axe Murderer, but eventually, she will grow up and know better, and for that future Peanut, I paraphrase Jack Nicholson from As Good As It Gets and say 'She makes me want to be a better person' .

And that's it! Yay, I did it! Completed a post in one go!

Okay, Peanut is clawing at my face now. Bye.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

So much to write about! Oh Dear!

Where do I begin? Should I just start off from somewhere near the beginning? Or might it be better to just put down the key highlights and then choose to elaborate on them? 

- My cousin Mini has got married! The wedding was last week, and we had the most awesome sangeet at my mother's place. The sangeet itself was very different from the typical 'ladies sangeet' affair - but we had the mehendi-walaas, the chudi-waala and us - the dance-waalas! Yep, we pretty much boogied the night away and the best part was that everyone was on the dance floor, right from little Peanut and her cousin Nikki to my grandmother. 
Mini is marrying a rather wonderful Australian man named Russell - a dirt-biking microbiologist, if you can wrap your mind around that mind-boggling combination. As I told him when they were finally leaving for Australia, I'm just so glad that two such wonderful people have found each other. Russell's family - his parents, brother and sister-in-law - had come down for the wedding here, and I must say they are rather good sports. I want to elaborate on this later, but basically, since they wanted to experience the 'true Indian wedding', we had a band arranged for a little 'baraat'. And despite our warnings, the silly band-men started asking the Australians for money while they danced. Except for the fact that they chose to do this by twirling their fingers around the head of the groom - to signify that it was in his 'blessing' - but the twirling-finger action was misconstrued by the hapless foreigners to mean that they were being asked to spin around - which they just good-naturedly wrote off to some strange Indian tradition. Therefore, we had a situation where there were in the baraat, there were:

* increasingly frustrated band-waale, trying hard to get their request for a tip across through their twirling hand-signal and other assorted means...
* increasingly puzzled and dizzy spinning-round-and-round Australians who were beginning to wonder if they had to spin all the way to the wedding venue...
* increasingly shameless my-family-members who were laughing too hard and were too busy taking pictures, to actually think about explaining to the people in our charge that they should probably stop spinning. 

Yeah, Mini - I know you weren't too amused, but wait till you see the videos. Ha ha ha ha hah ah ha ha haha ....

- Then there have been other various things which I should write about later, including: 

- How Vijay and I actually performed at the sangeet - with - wait for it - this song. Govinda and Raveena, we did you proud. (Not! We practiced a total of 3 hours two days before, and little Peanut was quite traumatized watching us...) But we did it anyway, and it was great fun!
-My nicking little 5-month old Nikki while trying to helpfully trim her nails and going through horrible guilt for a whole day
- Peanut's two new cousins landing up from America and her excitement at meeting them, manifesting itself in her pretending to be a dog at 2 a.m. and screaming 'Bhau-bhau' at them around a hundred times.
- An awesome conversation I had with an eight-year-old in the park yesterday, which made a whole lot more sense than some of my recent conversations with adults!

Okay, but for now, I have to go and wake up a jet-lagged family for a 4 o'clock lunch. 

Did I mention I love Saturdays?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

What Peanut Says

- Mama - favorite word. favorite person. Meeee!
- Dada -second favorite.
- Ka - for the K
- Ino - For our driver, Vinod.
- Bwaaa - my Bua
- Puh-paa - my grandfather
- Nana - my uncle, Bua's hubby.
- Duuu - for Didu, my mother
- Maa (pronounced like the hindi word for 'me') - my sister
- Mall - for ball
- Paa - for park
- Paa - also for water
- Thanna - cold water
- Too - Toot sweet, song from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
- Chee Chee Man Man - above mentioned movie
- Bay-bee - for Baby
- Dee Dee - for little girls (and unfortunately for them, little boys too)
- Boo - for book
- N'Kal - for Uncle
- Anty - for Aunty (rarely said)
- Ikeem - for icecream ( I didn't know she could say this until she impatiently screamed it at me while I was having one)
- Gar - for Ghar - insists on going there very quickly after I get back home
- Paar - for 'pyaar' - she gets my grandpa to pat my arm when I come home
- Dudu - the actual first word when I get home - well before Mama.
- Suh-lute - Salutes, after putting on any hat she can find
- Joo - Juice, her favorite drink
- Cheesh- her favorite snack
- Shu-Shu and Poo-Poo - self-explanatory, said after the act, though I hope this changes soon
- Kal - for Twinkle, Twinkle, makes me sing this sometimes
- Baa - for Baa, Baa Black Sheep, makes me sing this sometimes too.
- Mumma - for the song in Dasvidaniya. Loves this song.
- Happle - for Apple
- Humm - for 'eat'
- Annnar - for Pomegranate
- Bed - for Bread
- Par - means Upar, pats my shoulder and tries to get me to carry her on them. Sometimes works.
- Tee - means TV. Said with an engaging grin, unfortunately charms my grandpa to switch it on for her a bit too often.
- Chawwo - Chalo, let's go!
- Baby Chho - Baby is sleeping
- Choo choo - train
- Boww-woww - dog (also cow, horse, and I think almost all other four legged animals)
- Haa and naii - yes and no.
- Tha - Thank you.

Okay, can't think of more now. Lunch beckons.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Judge me...not!

This is one post where the words aren't really flowing.

It's something which I wasn't sure I really wanted to even write about in the first place.

But then I thought I just would.

So the thing is - one of the reasons that I've just not been blogging too much of late, is that I actually have been feeling that we mommy bloggers are a rather judgmental lot.

I can't actually think of all the various things that I've read in the past few weeks that have made me form that impression - but it's there, somewhere.

First of all, this 'judging' thing is very high in general - I think as a society, we probably have this tendency to comment on 'other people' and their life choices, rather a lot.

This post has actually been triggered by Rohini's post on judging and comparing ( it's been so long since I blogged that I can't seem to link it to that particular post, so just linked to her blog) - though hers was a humorous take on this very natural impulse that we all have as far as judging goes.

Some of the things that make me feel judged...

a. The whole working mom versus stay-at-home-mom thing. Sigh. Yes, I don't spend as many hours in the day with Peanut as I would, were I at home. Yes, maybe she would turn out differently if I did spend the whole day with her. But, considering that I might die of boredom of sitting at home or of being her all-day pacifier, and research shows it's difficult to be a good mom when you're dead, this one just works better for me.

b. Yes, my daughter isn't too tough. She's rather delicate and hasn't put on too much weight in the last few months. Her doc says she could have put on another kilo or two by now, but by and large, she's fine. So I guess it's okay. But I don't feel it.

c. No, she isn't talking much at all, although she understands almost everything we say, and makes herself understood through monosyllables, gestures and other amusing expressions. And I know that some, perhaps many, mothers have kids who are younger and speaking more by now. It shouldn't matter. But it does, at least a bit.

d. The whole thing about taking a maid places. Yes, the fact is that my daughter is being looked after by the K, but while I'm home, she doesn't let the K do a single thing for her. However, sometimes, it's just easier to also take the K along for things like shopping, or even when I am visiting someone. And yet, the recent verdict seems to have been that this, too, is somehow wrong, insensitive, so on and so forth, and that I am somehow 'missing out on her childhood' by letting the maid help even when I'm around. Uhh- I don't think so - although some people do.

e. On not wanting to spend every minute of my waking (and non-working) hours with her - yes, I do believe in some time for just me - or just me and my husband. Those opportunities are not many. I remember reading a judgment on a mother who apparently 'sneaked into her own house for an hour's rest' before letting her baby discover she had arrived. This hasn't ever happened to me, but I totally understand the need for some rest after a particularly bad day at work - and hey, perhaps it helped that particular mom be far more engaged after an hour's rest? Just saying.

f. Overall, we seem very quick to judge each other or 'other mothers' and a lot of time, we use phrases like 'I would never do that.....I do it this way...I make sure that in MY case, MY kid is treated such and such way...'...'I NEVER let MY baby watch TV' ...'How could she let her baby 'cry it out'? (maybe it worked for her?)...'You're STILL breastfeeding?' ...(yes, I am and mostly loving it if I don't have to do it every two hours)... Yada, yada, yada.

Now, the thing is, I could totally be over-reacting to this. But I want to hear from the rest of you, and I want your honest opinions, please.

Do YOU think we collectively are too judgmental - as a mommy blogger community, I mean? And would appreciate if we didn't come up with the usual ' judging is normal, we wouldn't be human without it' and all those qualifiers.

Open up and tell me if you've felt judged or uncomfortable about something you've read - either as a post, or people's responses in comments and so on.

And just as a thought - you think we could just give each other a break?

And am I over-reacting? Being terribly defensive because I am unsure of my own parenting? Possibly. But so what? The feeling lingers, though I care a lot less about it than I used to...

Edited to add: The words that weren't flowing in the beginning, certainly flowed later! :-P

Am posting the answer now...

In the comments to my previous post though - so that for those who want to give it another shot after the clarification below, the answer isn't given away straight up -

The clarification is for all those looking for the 'other third possible solution' is that the ONLY two choices are - allowing it to proceed on Track A towards 3 kids on the used track, OR diverting it to Track B towards the lone child on the unused track. You can't pick up the kids, warn them off, stop the train, blah blah blah. So don't be smarties, please! Just choose one of the two...

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Morbid Hypothetical Situation

...was described by our Boss as an opening to one of our all-day meetings earlier this week. I was quite fascinated by the way people reacted to the particular question that he posed and thought I'd check out how other people would answer.

The situation was described as thus:

- There are two train tracks - Track A and Track B.
- Track A, is a track that is in regular use, while Track B, is a track that is not in use.
- On Track A, 3 children are playing - while on Track B, one child is playing alone.
- A train is hurtling down Track A, and it's heading for the three kids.
- If you are in charge of the lever that switches the course of the train between Track A and Track B, and you therefore have only two choices, which one would you choose and why?

a. Let the train continue on Track A towards the 3 children OR
b. Divert the train to Track B towards the kid playing solo?

The idea here is to not think too much, and put down your instinctive response.

I'd be interested to know your first reaction, reasons why, and whether your answer changed as you wrote it in the comments section.

I will tell you the 'correct answer' after a while - let's say after 8-10 people submit their views?

That sounds fair to me

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Parental Instincts

Mother's instinct....

I'm sitting, playing with Peanut on the bed. She's in a giggly mood, and is flopping all over the place. I turn to talk to Vijay, and see out of the corner of my eye that Peanut is doing a backward flop with full gusto.

I also notice simultaneously that my husband has foolishly left his laptop on the edge of the bed, which is where my baby's head is going to land in the next few milliseconds.

Time stands still for me, my heart skips a beat. Without thinking, my hand lashes out and thwacks the baby's head, deflecting her in the nick of time. She lands safely, her head narrowly missing the laptop, although her happy eight-toothed grin is wiped off her face, and startled by my intervention, she starts to cry loudly.

Father's instinct...

Vijay has so far been but a mute observer to this event, but now he leaps into action. But to my shock, instead of congratulating me on my quick action, he simply uses the opportunity to win some brownie points with the baby, immediately pouncing upon the wailing, confused child and saying...

'Oh my poor little one...Mama ne maara?...Dada ke paas aao...Dada nahin marega...'.

Whatever. He's just lucky he didn't get the laptop against his head.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

February...

...really is my favourite month.

The weather in Delhi is beautiful. As I sit here and type, it's a sunny Saturday afternoon and there is a delightful breeze, coming in through the open door at my mom's place. The only thing missing today is Vijay's presence. As sucky as it is to have only two Saturdays off in a month, Vijay has it worse with only one Saturday off!

Anyway, so February is great. It's not just the weather. Many other little things, like the inevitable surprise party around my birthday ( I mean, let's face it - I know I'm getting too old for this stuff, but it's a fun tradition) ; our marriage anniversary ( has it really been six years?) and other assorted things that make it the most pleasant month of the year.

Coming back to the Saturday thing - I really have realized that Saturday is an incredibly important day, and not just to chill out- it's more to do with finishing off your chores and getting some peace of mind and some time to unwind. So the couple of weekends that I get which actually do have Saturdays off, are rather precious.

I took the opportunity to take Peanut off for a doctor's visit - and an immunization which I realized with some guilt, was two weeks overdue. This time round, she started crying as soon as she saw the doctor, clearly associating his presence with the inevitable jab in her thigh. I felt really bad for her, but had a series of questions to ask him. The exercise was pointless because I was distracted by her crying while asking, and so was he, while answering. Taking her outside of the room ( the K was with me) didn't help either because on weekends, nothing the K tries can distract Peanut's attention from me. Eventually, the doctor suggested we just get the injection over with and stop torturing Peanut, and I agreed. It was over in a flash, but her anger lasted a lot longer.

I remembered that right after she was born, the same doctor was trying to give me some instructions on her care, and I was a little distracted, and hoping that he would start addressing those instructions to Vijay instead. He chided me, asking 'Who is the primary caregiver?'. Naturally, this annoyed me and I pointed to Vijay, saying 'Him'. The doctor was not amused and neither was I. Anyway, 19 months later, here we were again - I've been thinking of finding a doctor closer to our place (and perhaps closer to our generation), but again, that's something I haven't got around to doing yet.

Vijay and I took Peanut to Nirula's a couple of days back - she loves the place, and associates it immediately with ice-cream, and walks around dripping Butterscotch crunch all over the place. She also loves the tiny chairs they have for kids and deposits herself on her favourite blue one very regally. We have a bit of an issue while trying to leave, though - largely, because she doesn't want to and has to be dragged out, kicking and screaming.

Ok, the weather really is too tempting to be sitting indoors and blogging. I'm going to grab myself an after-lunch piece of gur ( don't you just love gur? I do) and contemplate my existence on the sunny spot on the front steps.

Yes. I love February. And Saturdays.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Assorted...

Vijay: Your happy burday is coming up! What would you like, honey?
Y ( thinking hard): Well, I'm a simple person with simple tastes. I think all I want is you to take me to the zoo on Sunday.
Vijay: Whatttt?
Y: Why? What's wrong? It'll be really nice. Peanut can come too.
Vijay: Ummm....
Y: What is with you? Why can't we just go for a nice family outing on a Sunday? Why do you bother asking? I've been told the Delhi Zoo is quite nice.
Vijay (relieved) : Oh, ZOO! I thought you said 'Loo'...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The fight for Peanut's affection has officially begun.

Over the last few days, Peanut has lost around ten percent of her cling-iness to me. She now exhibits a definite excitement about Vijay's return from office, and actually fusses over and hugs him - as opposed to her almost constant irritation with him over the previous two months or so.

She still prefers that I do most of her stuff for her, but I get at least a little bit of relief nowadays when she allows Vijay to occasionally do something.

Vijay stayed at home a day or so over the last couple of weeks, and before I knew it, he had sneakily taught her to say 'Dada' as a response to his query 'Peanut kiski beti hai?'. He did this by the simple means of saying it over and over himself until she started to do so, and then reinforcing it with loud claps and 'yaayyyys'.

So the last time I finished changing her nappy, after a great deal of difficulty -because she insisted on getting up and running away, teetering on the edge of the bed many times - he stood around watching from a distance, and finally asked her 'Peanut kiski beti hai?', and she automatically replied, almost before he finished his question 'Dada'.

Vijay clapped loudly, said 'Yayyy' and then cackled for a long while, summing it all up with a shot at me ' Honey...ghar tum banao...par nameplate mera...'

.......................................................................................................................

But who cares? Mostly, it's me and her, all the way. I created a mini-me!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Peanut's first Ice Cream


God, I love Nirula's. Seriously.

Blah blah blah...

My brother's wife, V is down from England, with their new little baby - two month old Nikki. We went over to see them last week, and Peanut's reaction to her was strange. She spent the first hour completely ignoring her - and then suddenly seemed to notice that she was not just another toy, but a real little person - the first littler person than her that she has closely encountered. She then kept touching her face (closely supervised by me), and then squealing extremely loudly right in the poor little one's ear. She also looked really, really huge compared to the baby.

My baby's the bigger one now. Wow!

V asked me a question later, saying 'So I read on your blog that you do yoga - do you really do it, or was that just a blog thing?'. I was a little taken aback and told her that I really do it - I thought of adding that not a single thing on my blog is untrue, but since she had asked the question very nonchalantly, probably isn't into blogs in general, and didn't mean anything by it, it seemed pointless.

But it did set me thinking. Nothing I write on my blog is a lie - at best, there may be some exaggeration to make a funny story funnier - but apart from that, there aren't any untruths of any sort.

However, and this must be true of all sorts of blogs, if not each and every blog - there are many things I choose not to write about, which if you did know might give you a very different idea of who I am and where I come from. Would that be lying by omission? No, that's pushing it, of course. You write what you write about, and you don't write what you don't want to write about. And what don't I write about?

* I don't write much about my younger days, especially school.
* I don't write about my father or how I feel about his passing.
* I don't write about my work, or the people there.
* I don't write much about my closer relationships, friends or family.
* I don't write about what I really feel about other blogs, and bloggers.
* I don't write anything about any social issues or events that affect me.
* And in case you think I write only about my baby - let me tell you I don't write one hundredth of the stuff that I could write. Or a millionth of what I feel.

So what do I write about? Geez, I better run over the last couple of hundred posts and figure it out. Suddenly, there doesn't seem to be anything worth saying. It all looks so frivolous!

Is this a phase? Or was the prolific blogging a phase?

Well?